Delta Air Lines committed to Boeing MAX 10, doesn’t expect delivery soon

By Lisa Barrington

DUBAI (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines is still committed to the Boeing 737 MAX 10 model that it has on order for deliveries beginning next year, even though it does not anticipate receiving the aircraft for some time, CEO Ed Bastian said on Saturday.

Delta, one of the largest U.S. airlines, operates a large mixed fleet including planes from Airbus and Boeing, which is engulfed in a quality and corporate crisis.

Bastian said Delta is “encouraged” by steps Boeing is taking with management changes and other adjustments at the company.

“I’m confident we will see improvement,” Bastian said.

Delta currently doesn’t fly any of the MAX variants. The MAX 10 jets – the largest version of Boeing’s best-selling narrowbody jet – is still awaiting certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A January mid-air cabin panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines MAX 9 flight has placed a question mark over the certification.

Rival United Airlines has asked Boeing to stop producing MAX 10 for it and has converted a portion of the aircraft orders into MAX 9.

“We are still committed (to the MAX 10),” Bastian said during a press briefing in Dubai where airline CEOs have gathered for the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

There are no plans “at this point” to swap the MAX 10 for another model, he said, adding he hopes the changes being made at Boeing will allow it to make progress on building the MAX 10.

“We are scheduled to receive them next year, I don’t anticipate seeing them for quite some time,” he said.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Mark Potter)